Geraldine Carter | She Thinks Big

The first time I met Geraldine Carter, I watched her stand on a stage and tell the story of the night she spent in the cab of a stranger’s tomato truck during a solo bike trek in southeast Asia.

She was noticeably pregnant and didn’t need a microphone. She had a presence. 

Since then, I’ve had the good fortune to become Geraldine’s friend and colleague.

I say good fortune because Geraldine is a business coach for women entrepreneurs. At Focused Business Coaching, she helps her clients find clarity and focus on what matters, something she knows all about. In 2008 she co-founded Climate Ride, a charitable biking organization, and helped bring it to seven-figure success.

Now Geraldine’s a mom, an entrepreneur, and has a badass podcast called She Thinks Big. She talks the talk and walks the walk and regularly gives me and many people I know straightforward, gold-standard advice.

Here she is to tell you how she moves the world:


BB: Geraldine, you created a podcast called She Thinks Big. Tell us what we’ll hear in your upcoming episodes.

GC: You’ll hear from amazing women who are at all stages of business and success, from spark, to screw up, to success. Some episodes are interviews with entrepreneurs who have made it, some are just in the early phases and doing Kickstarter, and others are just honing their idea.

I also do on-air coaching calls to help women move past hurdles and solo episodes to teach women about the ins and outs of running a successful business.

Listen to She Thinks Big here.

BB: You’re a business coach who focuses on women entrepreneurs. What led you to work with women?

GC: Men get enough help. It’s harder for us – we had fewer role models growing up, we aren’t expected to be in business, we aren’t invited to play golf, and sometimes we’re not welcome at the table. Women need a place to turn where they can just be themselves and not have to worry about being man-splained to or shut out of the conversation.

BB: What is it like helping women entrepreneurs create their professional identities?

GC: It’s the best ever. There is so much latent potential just waiting to be tapped in women and it’s a joy to tap the well and watch the success spout high.

BB: What challenges do you think are particularly common for women entrepreneurs?

GC: Most women I hear from have deep levels of self-doubt running below the surface. Above the surface, it may not be apparent, but once we get into it, there are all kinds of topics and areas they avoid because of a deep unconscious belief that certain things  — [like] numbers, business, negotiating, etc. — aren’t for them.

BB: The first time I met you I heard you give a presentation about a night you spent in the back of a tomato truck in a foreign country. How has your adventurous spirit served you in your work?

GC: After years of traveling around the world, I know that the fear of exploration precedes the joy of discovery. In travel, there can be real danger and real risks that one need pay attention to, especially as a woman alone.

But in business, what’s the real risk? Embarrassment? Losing some money? Those are just ego and/or first-world problems. I take the fear along with me and go exploring anyway, because there is the joy of discovery on the other side.

BB: You’re a mom to two adorable kids, Hazel and Remy. What can you tell entrepreneurs who are considering balancing kids and work?

GC: Scale back your expectations or risk making yourself nuts.

BB: You and I have spoken about what it’s like to go through IVF (in-vitro fertilization), you on the recipient side and me on the donor side. What was that experience like for you?

GC: It forced me to get real about the fact that I’m just not in control of certain things. The universe doesn’t care how badly I want something. All that fretting is just wasted energy. Letting go is hard, but holding on is pointless.

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BB: What are your hopes for Hazel as she grows up?

GC: That she doggedly pursue her own path and not listen to me.

BB: She Thinks Big is all about women with momentum. Who are your powerful female role models?

GC: Oprah. She is as successful as they come and still has her feet planted firmly on the ground. Her authenticity is inspiring.

BB: What do you hope your listeners will take away from She Thinks Big?

GC: A better appreciation and deep-rooted trust in themselves and their talents.

BB: Okay, now for the traditional Badasserie questions. What motivates you?

GC: The joy of creation and discovery, and the deep belief that we are talented beyond measure and have a s**t-ton of problems requiring urgent attention.

BB: What inspires you?

GC: People who think beyond what has already been created. People who go where no one yet has.

BB:  Amen, sister! What makes you feel like a badass?

GC: There’s a fine line on the spectrum of risk between daring, and cavalier. I don’t like being cavalier, but I do like testing myself. Biking from Burma across Thailand, Laos, and Viet Nam and into China by myself comes to mind, as does skiing steep chutes while six months pregnant come to mind.

But, generally, I just do my thing and try not to consider how others view my choices.

BB: What’s your dream trivia category?

GC: The Periodic Table.

BB: Is there anything else you would like to add?

GC:  Nope! Baby crying. Gotta go.


To schedule your own free 25-minute call with Geraldine, click here.


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Badasserie author Micah Larsen is a rogue persuasion scientist who teaches people easy ways to persuade in about five minutes.

Get free persuasion tips from Micah by texting APISPLEASE to 22828 or by clicking here.

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Hannah Grey // Viticulturist

On a misty morning amidst the rolling hills of a midwestern vineyard, you’ll find Hannah Grey atop a rolling tractor, monitoring the climate and moisture of her surroundings and preparing the native land to grow Missouri’s most perfect grapes.

Hannah is a

grape chemist

wine scientist 

badass farmer

viticulturist.

If you’ve ever enjoyed a nice glass of Merlot or Chardonnay, you’ve got a viticulturist like Hannah to thank. Viticulturists are responsible for the scientific care and monitoring of vineyards, and as one of the few women in her field (excuse the pun), Hannah is busy blazing a trail as part-chemist, part-farmer, 100% badass.

Not to mention that she’s a super-talented singer, but we’ll get to that later.

Here’s Hannah herself to tell you more about how she moves the world:


BB: Hannah, you’re a chemicals supervisor and vineyard farmer at Mount Pleasant Estates in Augusta, Missouri. You said that means you spend most of your days on a tractor. Tell us about your day job.

HG: That’s right! I work on the viticulture side of things, so the chemicals that I handle are to for the plants themselves, not the wine. I use my tractor daily to spray our crops, mow, and harvest, etc. We have about 70 acres of vineyards with several different varieties. It’s my job to make sure our grapes stay happy and healthy for harvest.

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Photo courtesy of Hannah Grey

BB: Vineyards seem to be a pretty regional thing, so not everyone knows what it’s like to spend time at one. Is working at a vineyard as glamorous as it sounds?

HG: Yes and no. No in that it can be very hard physical work. It’s farming, after all, so it’s dirty and sometimes pretty physically demanding.

But, on the other hand, and more importantly to me, having the opportunity to spend every day outside in our fields totally allows me to become an active part of my natural, living surroundings, which I think many of us lack these days. It allows me to feel connected to not only the plants that I nurture but to everything alive around me.

There is much to appreciate within that instinctive connection to nature.

BB: We often hear that women are few and far between in science-based jobs like chemistry or viticulture. Do you find that you’re in the gender minority?

HG: For sure. It’s really rewarding to break the stereotype that farming is a man’s job. I certainly enjoy the challenge in the work I do.

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Photo courtesy of Hannah Grey

BB: You moonlight as a musician. Tell me about that.

HG: I do! I’m currently working as a vocalist with two projects. The Paulosmallband is a four-piece led by my friend and mentor Paul Oviatt, along with friends Rebecca Mayer, Pat O’Donnell and myself as a vocalist. We cover a wide variety of tunes from nearly every genre and we really have a lot of fun together.

My personal pet project is the Hannah Grey Duo, also with Paul. I like to think of this sound as a unique combination of folk and jazz. We’re currently working on some new original music that I think is going to be really nice.

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From left: Paul Oviatt, Grey, Rebecca Mayer, Pat O’Donnell. Photo courtesy of Hannah Grey.

BB: What inspired your interest in music and in your genre?

HG: I’ve been a lover of music for as long as I can remember. I started playing the saxophone at age ten (I’m 34 now) and I’ve pretty much been a musician ever since. I started singing and playing sax in my early twenties for an indie rock band. Since then, I have focused primarily on vocals and have worked in many different genres like rock, hip-hop, jazz, EDM (electronic dance music), folk, even a full-length album of songs for children.

I like playing around with different genres because it’s always fun for me to try things I’ve never tried before. At my core, I think I’ve always had a jazz soul. I love all the old greats like Etta James, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, and the like. Amy Winehouse is another one of my favorites.

I love the loose, abstract nature of jazz. But I’m also gaining a real appreciation for the rawness and humanity of folk music.

I view my music as I do my work; I’m at my best when I’m challenged.

BB: I’m a native Missourian and I know many folks consider it a flyover state. Do you feel that way?

HG: I might have thought so before I moved here, but I don’t feel that way at all now. I live in Augusta which is about 40 miles west of St. Louis. We’re in the heart of the Missouri River bottoms and directly on the Katy Trail State Park. We have some of the prettiest scenery in the Midwest.

Of course, there are the staples like St. Louis and the Lake of the Ozarks, but Missouri has so many great communities of artists, musicians, and genuinely interesting, kind people. Tons of great hiking trails, not to mention over 100 wineries. I really think Missouri has much more to offer than people realize.

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Photo courtesy of Hannah Grey

BB: Folk music and wine are pretty central to the Missouri culture. Do you think you’re helping people appreciate the Midwest?

HG: I hope so! Folk music and wine are timeless. With both my work and my music, I get to make something that brings people together and makes people happy. That makes me happy.

BB: What motivates you?

HG: My loved ones motivate me, for sure. Making people feel good motivates me. I’m an empathic, sensitive soul; making others feel happy literally fuels my own happiness. That can be a hard thing for some folks to understand, but compassion is a huge part of who I am.

If I can sing to a crowd and touch even one person’s soul in a positive way, then I’ve done my job.

BB: What inspires you?

HG: Nature. Love. Heartache. Happiness, contentment. The softness in a warm, foggy morning. My family. Conversations with my best friend. Rainbows on my bedroom ceiling when the early sun hits the prism in the window just right.

Did I say love?

BB:  What makes you feel like a badass?

HG: The fact that I’ve worked my way to a place where I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing.

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Photo courtesy of Hannah Grey

BB: What’s your dream trivia category?

HG: Definitely Seinfeld. I’d rule.

BB: Is there anything else you would like to add?

HG: I’d like to thank you, Micah, not only for featuring me but for providing such an awesome platform for women to share their badass-ness! You lift us up and give us power. We need more women like you. Thanks again!


Learn more about Missouri’s rich wine culture here.

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Author Micah Larsen is a persuasion scientist and consultant. Her job is to teach people how to use subtle persuasion in their emails, conversations, and campaigns to get others to say “yes.”

Watch one of her short persuasion how-to videos of $9.97 value for free here using code:

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Rachel Larsen // Filmmaker

She may be an actor, photographer, and award-winning filmmaker, but Rachel Larsen is no drama queen. 

Though she attended the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts (where Robert Redford and Grace Kelly are among her star-studded fellow alumni), her sweetness and humility reveal her Texas roots. And she wouldn’t tell you this upon first meeting her, but this year, Larsen directed and produced her first solo film, All There Is, a documentary for which she recently won Best Director at the Nice International Film Festival in Nice, France.

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Here is Rachel herself to tell you more about how she moves the world.


BB: You were homeschooled. Do you think that that influenced your career path?

RL: Oh, definitely. Creativity and magic were amidst everything we did — in school and outside of it. Elementary school reading hour finished with the grand notion to create “Rox-a-Boxen” in our backyard, based on the picture book of the same name. My mom even let us lug her nice china to “sell” in the “grocery store.” Which was across from the flower shop, of course.

I saw everything in a magical light because I was continually getting the opportunity to grow my imagination. It was like I was given the ability, but more importantly, the choice, to see the world for the beauty that it is.

My entire childhood of fairies and homemade family films and freshly baked bread have all come together to create the artist and person I am today.

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BB: Lots of entrepreneurs and young professionals say they experience “impostor syndrome.” Do you ever feel that way? And if so, what do you do about it?

RL: I certainly have in the past. Actually, let me be quite candid and say that I am continually and actively working against those negative voices that want to say I’m less than I am.

The thing is, I’ve always known I was meant to be an artist. The title of “artist,” however, is varied and confusing, so, naturally, I’ve gotten a little lost in translation at moments. Acting school was marvelous and probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But because it made you reach those moments of the rawest and scariest truth that you’ve ever been brave enough — or pushed enough by a screaming Polish acting instructor — to reach. But that’s because we had to reach those moments — ones of sobbing your eyes out, either in an exercise or after class — and most of the time, the reasoning for me was because I wasn’t meeting my own expectation of myself. Which I realize now is a whole load of bogus horse**** because I, as well as you, have everything we need within us.

We always have a choice. And I am always striving to choose compassion and love over fear and judgment.

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BB: Tell me about making documentaries.

RL: I had a fabulous experience creating my feature documentary, All There Is.

When I picked up the camera for the first time, I had no idea what I was creating. I just knew I had to do this. I was in a place in my life with a lot of uncertainties, especially in one romantic relationship. As one does when they’re questioning the last several months of their life, I picked up a camera. I didn’t even know why I was filming. I just knew what I wanted to capture and why. That was my only sightline. I never planned anything. I just filmed everything.

Which I’m sure is quite the opposite of most documentary filmmaker’s processes. But I was in a f***-it mood.

And this f***-it mood turned into a full-length documentary, with an arc and journey I wasn’t expecting. So you best believe I said a lot of grateful thanks to my intuition, which I was blindly following.

Making films for me is a very spiritual process. I’m an avid believer in Buddhist principles and truths and attempt to implement the moment-by-moment beauty and peace I have found into every shot.

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BB: What movie have most people not seen but really need to watch?

RL: The popularity of Blue Jasmine with Cate Blanchett certainly wasn’t as hyped as it should have been. Beautiful movie, heart-stopping acting.

But, if I’m being honest, The 10th Kingdom starring Kimberly Williams. It’s the best worst movie.

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BB: What does one do at the Nice Film Festival? Is it as fancy as I am imagining it to be? And what was Cannes like?

RL: Okay, I’m not going to lie, the phrase, “Wow, this feels so fancy” did cross my mind. More than once. VIP Badges at both Cannes and Nice. We took fancy photos on red carpets. Cannes had about twenty yachts with parties happening outside. I filmed my first interview with Steve Grossmith of FILM the Magazine at Nice. I was in a whirlwind of, I can’t believe this is happening. And especially, now. And I get to experience it with incredible people whom I love very much. Wow, what a life.

BB: You decided to pursue directing over acting, at least for the time being. Why’s that?

RL: I’ve always been an explorer. Whether it was watching a ladybug on a leaf at age five or trekking to France for a couple of film festivals, I love the unknown and the thrill of independence that comes from doing something a little outside my comfort zone.

I felt a different pulling to pursuing film for a bit. Plus, I wanted the technical training that comes from going to school for film. I’m still going to act, but one can always learn and grow more, and I’m excited to explore this new side of my artistic pursuits.

BB: What can you tell other people who dream of acting and directing?

RL: GO FOR IT! If it brings you joy and peace whenever you daydream about it, but more importantly if it gives you peace when you create something put it into action, then it’s meant for you. I’ve sat in my bed at 3 AM with a cup of tea at age 20 after a day of long auditions and an eight-hour shift and thought, “Ah, am I really meant to do this?” And I found out an instant later, the answer came ringing back to me with complete sincerity.

“Yes! If it makes you happy, do it. Ding ding.”

Wow, thank you, emotional guidance system!

P.S. Beware the reasoning for which you want to do it. Intention is important.

BB: How would you describe yourself?

RL: A singing-in-the-store, and dancing-in-the-rain type of human! Movie fans, get the references?

I’ve always been dedicated and passionate, two things that overflow. I have taken that too far in the past and not given myself room to breathe. I’m trying to do better at self-care and trusting that relaxation — or a face mask — is an important part of life.

I smile a lot. People sometimes think I’m putting on a fake happy face, but legit, I’m just happy. So whatever, I’ll just go meditate.

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BB: What motivates you?

RL: The sunlight. I’m not even kidding. It gives me energy, it soothes me, it heals me. And sometimes the sun can replace coffee for me.

I said sometimes.

Seeing really good films motivates me, as well as witnessing jaw-dropping acting. Beauty inspires me, but usually when it’s at its most natural, for example, a mountain in the distance.

BB: What makes you feel like a badass?

RL: Doing yoga. And surpassing where I was in my last practice. I always try to get in the groove and improve a little every single time.

Eating delicious, healthy, plant-based food makes me feel like a badass. Because I am fueling my body with what it naturally desires most. Combined with B-12 supplements, spirulina, in addition to a wide array of complete plant-based proteins, vegetables, fruits, etc.

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Traveling makes me feel like a badass. Discovering new cultures, trying new foods, seeing new places, meeting new people.

Also, embracing myself, in all my strengths, and weaknesses, and reveling in the beauty we all have inside us makes me feel like a badass! I want everyone to feel like a badass. Cause you should!

BB: What’s your dream trivia round?

RL: The 7 Chakras And How To Cleanse Them  / Harry Potter

BB: Is there anything else you would like to add?

RL: Lots of love to Micah Larsen and the Badasserie Blog and all the amazing women out there!!! Keep being badasses!


Book a photography session with Rachel Larsen at rachel.kirsten.larsen@gmail.com.

Learn more about Rachel here or visit her Facebook page here.

Note: Rachel Larsen is the author’s sister-in-law

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Badasserie author Micah Larsen and Rachel Larsen

Sheila Cornwell // Montana Adventure Shuttle

Sheila’s got restless feet. The kind of feet that were made to wander, to pedal (she’s a bicyclist, too), and, now, to drive.

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Last year, Sheila blessed the Rocky Mountain region with the Montana Adventure Shuttle, a ready-to-go-anywhere 11-passenger van whose slogans include “endless roads, endless possibilities.”

Here’s Sheila herself to tell you more about how she moves the world:


BB: Do you remember the moment you decided to create the Montana Adventure Shuttle? What brought you there?

SC: I was tired of living in survival mode with the feeling that I had no control over my ability to succeed. Add to that the steady, growing feeling of losing my creative spark and feeling stifled by walls, proverbial and literal. Then, in late 2016, I was growing weary in my situation, missing the freedom of self-employment, and reminiscing about the previous summer’s five-day kayaking adventure in Glacier National Park. The urge to get out from behind a desk, coupled with my need for more physical movement, outdoor time, and my insatiable love for travel collected in my mind.

I soon felt this inescapable urge to break out of a failing pattern of attempts at success in the traditional workplace and allowed myself the creative freedom, my YOLO mindset, and my entrepreneurial spirit to take the lead.

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BB: What has been your favorite adventure you’ve taken with the Shuttle?

SC: I truly enjoy every shuttle trip! However, in November of 2017, I experienced my first overnight adventure with what was my first group of passengers from Missoula. A local film crew needed transportation to Helena and Bozeman and to visit some breweries for their show.

We stopped in Helena first, profiled a local hot spring, then headed on to the first brewery and filmed there. [In Bozeman] we … stayed the night at an amazing, historic bed and breakfast, then back to Bozeman’s brewery the next morning to complete filming. The crew was fun and friendly and the entire trip was full of camaraderie and laughter … beautiful scenery and singing on the way back! I remain friends with some of them, and the opportunity to serve my fellow Missoulians was invaluable!

BB: What kind of music do you listen to when you’re alone in the Shuttle?

SC: I have a varied collection of songs downloaded on my phone that I tend to listen to most. Artists and genres also spread across many genres, but mostly I listen to:

… Currently, I’m hooked on the song “Renegades” by X Ambassadors. I like to think of this as the theme song for all of us entrepreneurs!

Get persuasion tips from persuasion scientist & Badasserie author Micah Larsen

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BB: What inspires you?

SC: First and foremost is the beauty of this place; Montana, the Rocky Mountain environment, and Mother Nature. A close second to the environment we live in is the healing effect it has on me as well as the energy it feeds me. … I am inspired by other Montanans who also enjoy the numerous opportunities we have here to enjoy outdoor recreation. Their participation is a wonderful, daily reminder of what we can do here.

As a business owner, my fellow entrepreneurs are a huge inspiration, as they have a sort of energy of their own, which is kind and generous.

My children also inspire me, though they may not realize it. They are the reason I give instead of just take in this life! They need me to succeed as much as I need to succeed and I try to be a good role model for them.

Finally, but not least, my passengers inspire me to keep going with what I’m doing. They have offered a wealth of positive feedback and encouragement and ideas. Just their participation in my shuttle is validation and proof of the accomplishment.

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BB: What would you say to young women who are considering becoming entrepreneurs?

SC: Do not let the world intimidate you. I emphasize that word, “let.” Nor should you let the amount or type of work … prevent you from seeing your dream through to the end. There is a reason you are considering this option in life, so give it its due attention and examine not only who you truly are but what you want out of this life.

Your uniqueness is meant to shine, not hide behind fears.

BB: What makes you feel like a badass?

SC: Seeing this dream of mine becoming a reality. From what once seemed like a crazy idea. The idea coming to fruition.

The process itself is equally satisfying [and I’ve been] faced with big challenges every step of the way. With little funding, step by step I have been able to conquer each challenge by listening to my own instincts, and often with the help of others’.

Ultimately, I have to allow courage to spur me to take the actions necessary … instead of letting my fears hinder me. When I watch the desired outcome occur, there are feelings of pride and joy that rush over me. Then I feel like a badass!

I have also been known to squeal with delight, “This is working!!”

 

BB: What’s your dream trivia category?

SC: Oh, I would love to say, anything about bicycling or music, but I’m really more inclined to say that I’m a person who knows a little about a lot.

BB: Is there anything else you would like to add?

SC: I am incredibly grateful for the people who have shown me support in this community. That includes Missoula [Montana] as a whole, and the entrepreneurs and tourism organizations and other business owners I have met and become friends with.

Support is key when starting your own business and I have benefitted not only from emotional support but their combined wisdom and willingness to network as well!

I extend a hearty thank you to all of you who continue to help me, including you, Micah!

BB: Aw, gee, thanks! Ditto.

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Book your own memorable shuttle adventure with Sheila here and sign up for Montana Adventure Shuttle’s inspirational newsletter here.

 

 

The Ladies of Blue Marble

Y’know what’s more inspiring than one badass, innovative woman?

Nine badass, innovative women.

I’m talking about the ladies of Blue Marble Biomaterials, a research and development company that makes products out of plants and where six of the ten STEM leadership positions are filled by women.

As if that wasn’t enough, Blue Marble is also home to Bearhat Beverages, an eco-friendly beverage company that produces a fermented tonic water so sparkly and delicious it’ll knock your d*** socks off. 

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Bearhat, Co.’s signature brew contains live cultures and a whole lot of lemony, herbaceous fizz.

How could a biomaterial company create a fermented tonic, you may ask? Because it’s chock-full of gutsy, badass scientists and business gurus, that’s how.

And here they are to tell you a little more about how they move the world:

 

From top left: Rheanna Dorman, 35, Business Development & Marketing Executive; Coral Main, 27, Accounting Manager; Breana Pabst, 27, Chemical Engineer; Amanda Slater, 32, Vice President of Development; Kellie Hefstetter, Administrative Assistant; Katie Kettler, 25, Analytical Scientist / Quality Technician; Rachael Kropp, 29, Quality Control / Quality Assurance; Allison Wittkopp, 24, Biochemical Engineer; Franny Gilman, 29, Vice President of Research & Development


BB: What makes you feel like a badass?

AW: The look on people’s faces when I tell them my degrees and what I get to do for a living. A lot of older people don’t seem to expect a girl my age to have two engineering degrees. It always makes me grin when I see a look of surprise!

BP: I feel like a badass when I am able to solve problems or overcome challenges that once seemed very difficult. It’s a great feeling when you’re finally able to reach a goal or solution that you’ve put a lot of work into.

CM: Blue Marble is this little company in Montana that these huge food companies come to with the problems they can’t solve and ask us to figure it out for them. And we’re pretty successful at it!

I’ve done so much in my five years with Blue Marble that a lot of people never experience in my field in twice that time and I’m very proud that I’ve come out the other side with that knowledge and knowing how much of an asset I can be.

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BB: How do you feel female scientists are represented? 

AW: I’m lucky to say I’ve had great experiences being a female scientist. The College of Engineering at Montana State was always encouraging, inclusive and fair, in my opinion, and now I work with a bunch of awesome ladies in science as well. It makes me sad to know that others have not had pleasant experiences, but I do think it’s getting better. And I consider myself lucky to have had all the opportunities I’ve had in the [STEM] fields.

KK: I feel like women in STEM fields are getting better recognition, but things still need to improve. While I think women in science are being promoted more through social media, men are still getting more formal recognition.

RK: Women scientists — and women professionals in general — have received a lot more visibility within the last year or two because of smart and funny social media campaigns.  We’re able to connect and share experiences through hashtags like #womeninscience and #distractinglysexy

FG: In the general public, female scientists are gaining more support, but in order to create equal opportunities and to maintain a diverse work-force, we need more support.

Women frequently leave the workforce and academia. A system needs to be put in place that allows us and prepares us to flourish even if we’d like to start a family and continue working while doing so.

BB: How did you end up at Blue Marble?

RK: I applied to Blue Marble about 4 years ago because I was looking for a research and science-based job in a Missoula.  They hired me on and I’ve never looked back.

BP: After graduating and spending a fair amount of time being a ski bum and traveling, I wanted to work for a company that did meaningful and interesting work and also gave me the opportunity to live in a place with ample access to outdoor activities. I was drawn to Blue Marble’s commitment to sustainability and past work with algal biofuels. I reached out to Blue Marble and was lucky that a position opened up not too long after that.

BB: Montana has been recognized as one of the most entrepreneurial states in the country. What has been your experience with the entrepreneurial community?

BP: It’s cool to see new companies starting in Montana, especially in the tech field. We work with a few other companies in the area, and it’s great to be able to share knowledge and capabilities to help us all succeed.

KK: No matter what we or other companies are doing, we are all trying to redefine the status quo. It encourages collaboration and unique approaches to problems.

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BB: When you aren’t working hard breaking glass ceilings in the STEM world, what do you do for fun?

RD: Well, first of all, I don’t believe that I’m personally breaking the glass ceiling, but I do encourage and support the women that I work with who are STEM leaders to share their own stories and spark the movement within our own community. For fun though, I enjoy hiking and biking the Rattlesnake area with my two young boys. Or visiting Montana’s sweet ski hills to teach my kids to snowboard!

RK: In my spare time I enjoy skiing, fixing broken toilets in dive bars, eating pizza, and riding my bike around town.

BB: What motivates you?

FG: Learning new things about microbiology! I’m fascinated by the “unseen” world. As well as working towards a goal of becoming a strong, female leader.

RD: First of all, I am in a place that values me and where I get to bring my whole self to work every day! Also, knowing that my role in this organization’s ecosystem has a positive impact on our client’s businesses and their consumer’s health and environment.

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BB: What do you think our world would be like if people had a better understanding of and appreciation for science?

RD: My perspective as a parent has altered my own appreciation for science. I get to witness the pure excitement and joy my son expresses when he works on a science experiment or when we watch old episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy. His innocent reactions impact the way I now view science. So, I guess if everyone experienced science the way I’m experiencing with my six-year-old, then I would say the world would probably look something like Disney’s Tomorrowland!

AS: We’d all be vaccinated and investing in clean energy.

KK: To me, science is about collaboration and revisiting established ideas. Just because something has worked in the past doesn’t mean it is the most efficient process or even the correct way of understanding a concept anymore. It is a constantly evolving field. I believe that if more people had a better appreciation for science, there would be more encouragement for funding across all STEM fields.

Science allows us to understand the world around us and people should be interested in it.

BB: What inspires you these days?

FG: The strong women I surround myself with continue to inspire me, like my co-workers, friends, and family members. They motivate me to continue to work hard so that women are represented in leadership and decision-making roles.

RK: Lately I’ve been inspired by Janelle Monae’s latest album.  She put down some really badass tracks and visuals about women, power, and her experiences with both.

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BB: What’s your dream trivia category?

CM: Harry Potter, for sure.

AW:  Disney movies and/or soundtracks. I crush it every time. I am not ashamed of this knowledge.

BB: Is there anything else you would like to add?

RD: I love my job!

AS: Go out and grab a P&C Tonic!

 

 


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Stir up a Bearcat-recommended cocktail with one of their signature recipes here.

Mallory Ottariano // Kind Apparel

Mallory is a mover and a shaker. And as a mover and a shaker, she needed clothes that could move and shake, too, so she created Kind Apparel, a women’s adventure clothing company based out of Missoula, Montana.

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Mallory is wearing a Fjord dress of her own design. Get yours here.

Kind Apparel isn’t your run-of-the-mill clothing company (though her clothes are perfect for the runners among us). Mallory designs her own fabrics as inspired by nature and printed on recycled material made from plastic bottles.

Here’s Mallory herself to tell you more about how she moves the world:

BB: Tell me about Kind Apparel.

MO: Kind Apparel is a small women’s adventure clothing company. We design and make colorful and functional wearables for the outdoor-ist in you that are focused on celebrating the uniqueness of every woman. Our fabrics are what make our products special! Everything is made from stretchy Lycra that’s made from recycled plastic bottles and printed with my own graphics and artwork.

There is not a single solid colored fabric in our offerings and everything is very bold and very bright. Think psychedelic moonscapes, citrus fruits, paisleys, water reflections, and succulents.

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Kind Apparel skorts are designed for running, swimming, hiking, and backpacking.

BB: What do you do when you’re not working on Kind stuff?

MO: Honestly, these days I’m working most of the time, but I do make time for exercise every day, whether that’s in the gym or on a run during the week or a ski tour or bike ride on the weekends. I try to fit in as much skiing as I can during the winter/spring, and I play soccer all year round.

In the evenings, you can find me out on a Missoula trail taking my dog for a walk with my fiancê! I love to be in motion, whether that’s physically or just tackling many activities during a busy day. So when I’m not working, I’m usually moving in some capacity.

BB: What drew you to design specifically for women?

MO: Personal experience. I believe we can design best for ourselves, so as a woman it’s easy for me to know what is wanted and needed in the market. I also think — although this is certainly changing — that there is a significant lack of functional and technical yet cute clothing out there. Most women’s outdoor clothing tends to be available in frumpy fits and bland colors and I wanted to change that to include the colorful prints of lots of casual women’s clothing.

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BB: Have you ever had a “lightning bolt moment” or a sudden flash of inspiration?

MO: Yes! I had known I wanted to transition to custom printed fabric eventually, but when an opportunity dropped into my lap I certainly became inspired by how my company could grow.

On a backpacking trip, I was looking around at all the texture and color in the lichen on a rock I was taking a break on and I thought, “My prints should be inspired by nature and the amazing places where women are wearing the clothing I make!” So my next two collections have been entirely inspired by the natural world.

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Kind Apparel’s swim tops are reversible and versatile.

BB: Has being an entrepreneur changed you?

MO: Yes, in so many ways. It’s given me greater confidence. It’s taught me to be my own champion and cheerleader, and it’s taught me introspection and humility.

The most profound change is accountability. I used to, and still do, pass blame, decisions and challenges to everything and everyone but myself. But when you work for yourself and things go wrong or there are big problems, you must confront them.

There isn’t anyone else who can make the decisions that need to be made and any fault is almost always my own. I’m learning to own my mistakes and grow from them.

BB: What makes you feel like a badass?

MO: When I live up to my expectation of myself. Ha! I’m hugely competitive and set a very high bar for myself. It’s also an amazing feeling when I see women around Missoula — or abroad — wearing my clothing. Or when I introduce what I do and someone says, “Oh, that’s your company?! I have one of your dresses and I love it!”

I used to derive a lot of pleasure from physical or athletic accomplishments and as I get older this mentality and associated high do, too. Now, I feel like I badass when I see an impact I’ve created.

BB: What would you say to women who dream of starting an apparel company?

MO: It definitely sounds narcissistic, but I would say to anyone starting a business, “Put yourself first, love yourself the most, and believe in yourself the hardest.”

Certainly, you should have compassion and care for others, but no one is going to be as big of a supporter or believe in you as much as you will have to in yourself. You are your own best asset and the biggest tool to your success. Have confidence in that! Some people will dislike you and that’s totally okay.

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BB: What’s your dream trivia category?

MO: I am absolutely terrible at trivia. If there were somehow a category that allowed you to create your own questions and answers or a dream interpretation category I would be amazing at that. I’m good at bullshitting, but you can’t bullshit facts.

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BB: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

MO: I’ve been reading this incredible collection of stories lately that really inspire me as a creative woman in business. It’s In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney. If you ever need a pick-me-up or validation, you’re on the right track. The pages contain so many amazing stories of creative women living out their dreams and the journeys they’ve taken to get there.


Shop Kind Apparel and get your own unique, environmentally-friendly design by Mallory here.

Order In The Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs from your local bookstore or from Amazon here